While on my mission I can be contacted at ashley.lynch@myldsmail.net

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Saturday, June 9, 2018

My Wrestle With God

Oh boy, what a week! I don't think I have ever been so excited, exhausted, anxious, or joyful as I have been this week. Let me see if I can sum it up for you real quick (it probably won't be very quick). I am now serving in a place called Dublin, Ohio. I don't think I have ever served in a place quite like Dublin. It is a beautiful place, full of beautiful homes and nice families. Life is so good, which sometimes makes it a bit hard for people to see why they need the gospel in their lives. Or at least that is the reputation this area has received. But coming into this transfer, my companion Sister Tolman and I decided we were not going to let those stereotypes and past results get in our way of seeing miracles!

One of the biggest things weighing on me lately is a goal we have as a mission. President Stratford received revelation that each companionship in the mission can help someone to be baptized before July 1st, and since then it has been confirmed to me multiple times that this is possible. So I have faith that this is possible because God always fulfills His promises. But upon arriving in Dublin, there was no one on date to be baptized in the month of June. And in case you forgot, it's already June. So we seemed to be in a bit of a pickle. To be totally honest, I was frustrated and a bit angry. I don't know what at, but I just felt like it wasn't fair. But God gave me a good kick in the pants and an assurance that all things are possible through Christ. So I picked myself up and we made goals and plans to find someone and make this happen. 

I think my theme for the week has definitely been Alma 8:10
"Nevertheless Alma labored much in the spirit, wrestling with God in mighty prayer, that he would pour out his Spirit upon the people who were in the city; that he would also grant that he might baptize them unto repentance."

This is literally me. Every time I would read in the scriptures about individuals wrestling with God or struggling in the spirit, I obviously recognized that whatever it was they were praying about was something they really wanted and it took effort. But this week, I think I truly have come to understand what that means, the kind of desire that comes from understanding the eternal consequences of what needs to happen to the point that it consumes you and leads you to struggle in prayer, and the type of energy and effort that it takes. It is more than just physical exertion that we experience when we work hard, but it is spiritually and mentally strenuous. I don't think I have ever wanted anything more, and I think what heightens that desire is knowing that it is what God wants as well.

We have been working so hard, meeting and teaching many wonderful people and looking everyone for those who are prepared for baptism. Yesterday evening Sister Tolman and I both felt like we should see a woman in our area book. We went to her home and actually met her daughter who is about our age :) She is so cool!!! She immediately opened up to us and found interest in our message. We taught her about the Book of Mormon and she said that it would be so important to her to know that there is more scripture about Christ, because she wants to be able to learn as much about him as she can. We shared more of the restoration and the conversation shifted to baptism. What she said made my heart fill with joy "I have always wanted to be re baptized, so that this time it would be my own personal commitment to follow Christ" Friends, she excitedly accepted a baptismal date of June 30th, is looking forward to church Sunday and reading from the Book of Mormon. She is a miracle. I gave her the biggest hug before we left her doorstep and could not help but tear up as we walked away, practically jumping for joy that our prayers had been heard and answered. I know that at this point she can't possibly know the magnitude of the commitment she just made, or how hard the adversary is going to work against this. But we know these things, we know how impossible a task this may seem, so we are going to keep struggling in the spirit and wrestling with God to make this happen. We will continue to find those that God is preparing and do all we can for those we have already found, because they are always there and God will always provide a way.

Remember that God loves you. He hears your prayers. He knows of your worries, fears, concerns, anxieties and trials. It may not always come in your timing, but an answer will always come. So keep praying, and while you wait Just Keep Smiling!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Change is Good

This is going to be a real short one folks! Well, like I said, change is good. That's basically what I have been telling myself all day. We found out that I will be transferred to Dublin, and that is where I will spend my last transfer. It is hard to go. I am going to miss Sister Tobler like crazy! She has become one of my best friends, we have shared so many laughs, experienced some serious challenges, have grown together, and I can honestly say she has changed my life. I am especially sad to go with all the miracles we are experiencing lately.

To be brief, WE FOUND A FAMILY!!!! They are some of the most wonderful people I have ever met. They are so prepared for the gospel and they know it. That brings me the greatest joy, when people can instantly tell that what we have to share is something desirable and can change their life. We met them by what anyone else would call mere chance, but I know it was by divine design. We were led to them because God knows they are ready, that they need the restored gospel, and that we specifically could help them find it. They are just so excited to make these changes in their life and work towards baptism! They are planning to be baptized this next month, and that is a day I wouldn't miss for anything in the world :) 

I think it is amazing how even though as missionaries we change locations so often, we do not have to be worried about losing the bonds we form because they have truly changed us. The experiences we have change our nature and who we are, we will never be the same again and those we meet become a part of us. Even though I only met this wonderful family a week and a half ago, they will be a part of my life forever, along with so many others that I have come to love while serving the people of Ohio :)

 I am ready to face my next adventure head on, and give my all to whatever comes my way!

Have a wonderful week everyone, and just keep smiling!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Worth Of Souls Is Great

What a week! We have just seen so many miracles! There are a few families that we are teaching that I am just oh so excited about.

There is this cute little family we met recently and all the girls talk about is coming to church! Seriously, IT'S ALL THEY TALK ABOUT! We are so excited to have them there this Sunday :) and they are all reading the Book of Mormon together. It is just a beautiful picture, and I know that this is the best thing they will ever do as a family. I'm so happy to be able to teach them these amazing truths that will bring them so much happiness in life!

We met another woman lately that I am very excited to teach. She was standing outside waiting for the bus, and I'm glad she was because she said normally she would have just ran the other way. She currently doesn't have a belief in God because of some hard things she has experienced in her life. But by a miracle we were able to meet her and taught the Plan of Salvation to her. She said it would be amazing to know that there was someone out there who knew her perfectly the way we say Jesus Christ does. It really hit her and now she is doing her best to read the Book of Mormon  and said she would even say a prayer! It is amazing how simple and profound truths, like the Plan of Salvation, will help people make small but significant changes in their lives. I know she will never be the same because of it. I love being a missionary!

That leads me to something else I learned this week. Elder Nielson of the seventy came and visited our mission! It was amazing!!! As he and his wife were teaching us at zone conference, they stopped and said "Well, we didn't plan to talk about this, but I guess we need to" and by divine design they talked for a good long while about what it means to be a child of God, how we can understand our divine worth, and how important it is for us to remember that everyday. That is something my companion is helping to teach me right now, something that we are blessed to learn from the Plan of Salvation, and something that if truly understood will change our whole outlook on life. I urge each of you to get on your knees tonight and pray and ask God what he thinks of you. Spoiler alert, I already know the answer. He thinks the world of you! He wants you to succeed and cares about your every need.  
"Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God" 
(Doctrine and Covenants 18:10)

I love you all, just keep smiling!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Just Love

This week I want to talk about love. Everything in life that means something comes from our loving Heavenly Father. When we understand his perfect love we are better able to love others. Sometimes it's hard to love. It's especially hard sometimes to love yourself. But that's ok, because His love makes up for it. It makes up for everything. It makes up for those times when we don't have the motivation to do anything, when our own fears and doubts keep us from doing anything, or when what we do doesn't seem good enough. But thats ok, just do it anyway. God loves that you are even trying. And the most important thing that He wants us to try and do is to love ourselves and those around us.

Love is smiling at a stranger. It is doing what you know is right. It is lending a helping hand. It is finding ways to serve those you love, and maybe even those you don't. Love is making sure people know how special they are. It is really listening to people. It is buying a slurpee for your companion when they are down. It is washing the dishes so someone else doesn't have to. It is talking to people about Jesus Christ's gospel, even when that task seems impossible, because you know it will bless their life. 

Something I have been reminded of this week is how important it is to just love. Just love myself, love the Lord enough to do what He has asked, and love those around me. When We learn to do that, life is happier. And if it doesn't seem happy right now, just do the things that show love anyways. Christ's love will make up the difference

I love you all, Just keep smiling

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Greatest Battle We Will Ever Fight

I don't have a lot of time this week sadly, because I feel like this week was such a roller coaster. I was honestly very down at the beginning of thi
s week, but now life is looking good :) I don't really like who I was at the beginning of this week, but I am grateful for the lessons that I learned in the process of getting over all of that.
I learned two major things:
1) happiness is a choice
2) that choice is only possible because of Jesus Christ 

If you have read all of my posts you will notice that those are things I have claimed to learn before. Something else that I have learned from my mission is that life is a cycle. We literally learn the same lessons over and over again. Sometimes it's the same exact thing that we just can't get, so our Father in Heaven mercifully gives us more opportunities to get it right, and sometimes we are just prepared to learn a new part of that lesson. I feel like I have experienced both of those circumstances this week. 

Whatever life throws at you, just remember to keep moving forward. When you are doing a good thing you will inevitably receive just as strong of forces trying to push you backwards. Never forget though the strength of who is behind you. Do the Lord's work: serve others, love, forget about yourself, and be happy. The adversary will put untrue things in your head, roadblocks in your path and do anything he can to keep you from spreading good. In those moments, rely on Jesus Christ. He wants more than anything for you to succeed and if you do your part, just your small part to look to Him, you will receive Heavens help in your life and see miracles! This is the greatest battle we will ever fight, the battle for our own happiness, and with Jesus Christ we will always win.

I love you all, have a wonderful week! And just keep smiling!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Look To Christ and Live

What a week! Here are some highlights:
I finished reading the Book of Mormon again! What was even more fun is that Sister Tobler and I finished on the same day :) I cannot tell you how much I have learned from this book. This time through I learned a lot about how to receive answers to prayers. It has shown me so much about faith, God's plan for me, His commandments. Most importantly it has pointed me continuously to Jesus Christ. Through it I have developed a stronger testimony of who He is and why I need Him so desperately in my life. And through consistent study I am grateful to know that testimony will never stop growing.

Other exciting news, my friend James got baptized! I first met her in band and she is just so great! She is one of the most caring people I have ever met. Well, while I was still at home I found out she was meeting with missionaries! She was actually preparing for baptism, but the timing wasn't right. A few months ago I felt prompted to reach out to her and discovered she was still meeting with missionaries! She attended church regularly, read the Book of Mormon often. Her testimony had grown immensely, and even though I only had the opportunity to chat with her through Facebook I could tell that she was filled with such a different light than she had been before. This Saturday she made the step of being baptized! I could not be happier and I am so proud of her!

Another highlight of my week was that on Monday I got to go on exchanges with the amazing Sister Clark! Boy have I missed her sweet spirit. It was an honor to be able to serve with her in Lancaster again for the day :) One of the biggest miracles we saw was Amy. Sherry Price, who was baptized recently, had invited her Sister-in-law Amy to attend. By attending that baptism Amy realized that this gospel is what she has been looking for and what has been missing in her life. She is absolutely amazing and so dedicated and excited to learn all she can about Christ's restored gospel. Elder and Sister Thompson have been working closely with her, and Sister Clark and I had the wonderful opportunity to help her accept a baptismal date! She is so prepared and I know this is going to change her life!
Baptism is such a special and exciting thing that helps us to look to our Savior Jesus Christ!


There have been many miracles that have happened this week, but it has honestly been a crazy one! I feel like we were constantly running all over the place, trying our best to help people, and still never feeling like anything would go according to plan. BUT this week was a great reminder to me that it's not my plans that matter, but it's God's plans that will really make the difference. There were countless times this week that I was stressed feeling like nothing was working out or that I was not being successful. But then right after those moments, or sometimes even during, we would experience some huge miracle like finding three new investigators in half an hour or because we were running later than planned we would pull up at just the right moment to see an investigator we really needed to get in contact with who got home at that exact moment. It is moments like those that confirm to me that I am exactly where God needs me, doing exactly what He hopes I will be doing. 

Sometimes though that confirmation would not come. There were moments that I felt like I was supposed to be somewhere else, doing some other thing, or that no matter how hard I try I can't possibly do the task the Lord has given me. Those moments are really hard, when I know I could be more successful. What do we do then? Well, we learn from our mistakes and keep on trying. This week I have been studying my favorite talk from this most recent General Conference titled "Until Seventy Times Seven" by Elder Lynn G. Robbins. There is a question he poses very early in his message that really related to how I have been feeling lately. He says, "We may wonder—if both Nephi and Moses were on the Lord’s errand, why didn’t the Lord intervene and help them achieve success on their first try? Why did He allow them—and why does He allow us—to flounder and fail in our attempts to succeed?" I have been wondering that same thing, if I am on the Lord's errand and doing His work, why does it seem like everything is against me or that I can't accomplish this work? Elder Robbins made another point that helped answer my question. He teaches us about the necessity of having real intent as we use the Atonement of Jesus Christ to become what He wants us to be. He says that when we do this we change. "That kind of change results in spiritual growth. Our success, then, isn’t going from failure to failure, but growing from failure to failure without any loss of enthusiasm."

This life isn't about being perfect. That is what we are all striving for, but we will never get there in this life. And we certainly won't get there very quickly if everything is handed to us. That is why, even when we are doing the work of the Lord, it requires great effort and sometimes what even appears to be failure, otherwise there would be no growth. We are successful simply by getting up after we fall. Each failure or hardship that we experience, if we rely on Jesus Christ to give us the strength to rise from it, will be an opportunity to grow one step closer to success. I urge you all to focus on Jesus Christ in your daily lives. As you do so, you will gain the perspective you need to never lose enthusiasm as you are given the experiences necessary to grow spiritually in the ups and downs in life's journey.

Look to Christ and remember, just keep smiling!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Whatever the Mind Can Conceive and Believe, It Can Achieve

Seriously,  insanely awesome miracles included. Be prepared :)
Our area has been doing pretty well, we are finding awesome people to teach and have a few people working towards baptism. It's a bit of a struggle helping people come to church but overall things have been great!
But of course there are always ways we can make things better. Last week Sister Tobler received some inspiration from her sister who recently returned home from her own mission. Her and her companion really wanted to find a family to teach so everyday, in every prayer they said, they prayed that they would find a family of five who were prepared for baptism. In case you don't know, we pray a lot as missionaries. We pray when we wake up, before and after we study and plan, every time we go out the door, get out of the car, need help and guidance, before a lesson, before we eat. ALL THE TIME! Well they did find that family of five like they had prayed for and all of them were baptized.

Sister Tobler and I were inspired by this story, so we took this challenge ourselves. In every prayer we would ask to be led to those that the Lord is preparing for baptism. At first it seemed like a little much and I didn't really know what would come of it because I already felt like we were praying for these things. I am so grateful that the Lord looked over my lack of faith in those thoughts. We had done this for five days and on four of those we had found someone to teach and helped them to accept a baptismal date! Four more people are now working towards making sacred covenants with their Heavenly Father because we acted on the inspired words of her sister. I know that it had little to do with us, but because we were humble enough to listen and had the faith to work diligently, we were able to be instruments in the Lord's hands to bring about miracles. 

I know that this is true for each of our lives. I have learned a lot of things from this experience this week. Some of the big  ones are
1) The power of prayer is most definitely real
2) When our greatest desires match the Lord's greatest desires, we will see miracles to make them happen
3) Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve

Number three is a quote by Napoleon Hill that President Stratford loves and has invited us each to live by. I have definitely gained a testimony of that principle this week and I absolutely know it is true. Whenever we put our mind to something, and have enlisted the Lord's help, we can accomplish it.

I love you all! Just keep smiling!